Sunday, February 12, 2006

Recipe Spotlight: Chilled Dill Peas in Trina's Kitchen

Trina's latest recipe requires no cooking, no stove top, no oven, no microwave oven. We think it's a dish anyone should be able to master.

Chilled Dill Peas in the Kitchen

Joanie e-mailed that she enjoys reading the recipes but there's been nothing here for her to make. Why? She swears she burns everything on the stove top or in the oven. We're exchanging e-mails and for others, who may have problems with their ovens, let me make this point, because you put the dial on, for instance, 400 degrees does not mean that's what it's cooking at. You can purchase an oven thermometer at most grocery stores. You'd be surprised at how many ovens are cooking at a lower or higher temperature than what the dial says. So if you're having a problem with your oven, please consider doing that. If you know someone who cooks often, you can probably borrow a thermometer from her or him. After you figure out the difference between the dial's temperature and the actual temperature in the oven, you can make a point to add or subtract as needed when cooking.

But Joanie's concern is one that many people sometimes have. I know as my own children have moved into their own homes, any recipe that required little to no cooking seemed to be greeted with a sigh of relief. So here's a recipe that requires no cooking and it's one that my friend Margaret passed on to me in the eighties.

Chilled Dill Peas
1 16-ounce can of peas, drained and rinsed in cold water
1/4 cup fresh snipped dill
1/2 cup fresh snipped chives
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup sour cream

Mix dill, sour cream, chives and curry powder. Add peas to the mix and stir. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Now for some substitutions. First, you can use frozen peas but you'll need to cook them first. On dill and chives, it's always best to use fresh ingredients whenever possible. But the whole point of building up a spice rack is to have seasoning on hand when you might otherwise not be able to get fresh. I have dill and chives on my spice racks. If this is something I'm throwing together at the last minute, I won't have fresh dill or chives on hand. If you're using dried dill or chives, use a tablespoon of chives and a half tablespoon of dill. (Taste it and add more if you'd like.) We always have sour cream in the fridge. Mike and my husband both pour it on their baked potatoes. It's like milk or eggs, a staple in our home. But you can substitute a cup of plain yogurt for the sour cream in this recipe. (And you can use plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream on baked potatoes.)

You can build a meal around one dish or many dishes without cooking. Many a picnic has proven that. As I said, Joanie and I are exchanging e-mails and we've figured out her oven issue and now are attempting to figure out what's happening on her stove top. But if you're have discomfort with the stove or oven, there are recipes for you. I'll try to note at least one each month and remind me if I forget to. Hopefully, making dishes that require no cooking will give you the satisfaction and comfort to tackle cooking dishes. If you do, and if you're successful, you may find that you prefer making dishes that require no cooking. That's up to you but don't cut off your options out of fear or a belief that you can't do it.

When I got married, I knew a few dishes. And my biggest fear was what happened after I cooked all of them? Was I a failure in the marriage if I didn't learn more? The reality is that most people repeat the same dishes. 365 days doesn't have to mean 365 different dinners. But when I was just married, I was creating this huge problem for myself that didn't exist. I talked about Elaine and my love of books last week and I'll note that one of the things C.I. and I talk about is cooking. C.I. is so much more practical than I was then. Each year, C.I. learns a few new dishes. I would have loved it if someone had given me that advice years ago. So let me pass it on now because it's practical. Purchasing a cookbook and trying to create every recipe in it is something that novices and cooking geniuses attempt (and probably both have the same rate of failure).

So, for instance, if you decide to try this recipe and it's the only one you're willing to try, that's wonderful. You've got one recipe under your belt already in the second month of the year. If you add two more this year, you've got three recipes. That may not seem like much to you; however, if you keep up at that rate, in five years, you've got fifteen recipes you can use with ease.

When we were in DC in September for the rallies, C.I. made two wonderful meals and one of them included a pasta and a sauce that I have permission to share. However, that recipe requires cooking and some may see it as a lot of work. So we'll work up to that recipe.

But fixing a dish or a meal shouldn't scare you. If it does, find a recipe that looks easy to you or a recipe for something you love. It being easy or something you really want to eat will help you get over your discomfort. When we learn that it's not that hard, the fear tends to lessen.

If I seem focused on "fear" this weekend it's because the Bully Boy tried to scare America again with what seems to me a phoney story about a phoney terrorist threat that he falsely claims was averted. Americans were asking hard questions about the NSA spying and you had Michael Brown testifying to Congress on Friday that while the government's response to Hurricane Katrina was to do nothing, they did in fact know how bad it was.

When difficult questions surface, the Bully Boy plays the fear card thinking that if he can scare us, we'll all stop thinking. Fear can be a huge barrier. Don't let it be a barrier to you in the kitchen or in your own life. That's my message for this weekend. And let me thank my son Mike for posting my entry here last weekend. I could not log into my account here at Blogger so I used The Common Ills mirror site. Mike offered to transfer the post over (and did) for me if Blogger started working again. And thank you to C.I. as well for allowing me to use the mirror site. I'll probably cross-post this at the mirror site.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }